Rafael Nadal has opened on the Novak Djokovic saga, saying the World No 1 is facing the consequence for the ‘choice’ he made.
Nadal also backed the Australian Open’s vaccine mandate. The Melbourne major is the first tennis tournament to make it compulsory for players to be fully vaccinated.
But Djokovic, who has refused to reveal his vaccination status, had sought to enter the Grand Slam with medical exemption. Though he was granted the exemption, he was detained by the Australian Border Force.
Los Reyes Magos nos han traído un despropósito de enormes dimensiones en el mundo del tenis.Nadie desea que el num 1 del mundo se quede sin jugar un GS.A veces lo que mal empieza puede acabar peor.Australia sale muy mal parada de todo esto.Que pena..🥲
— Feliciano López (@feliciano_lopez) January 6, 2022
“I think if he wanted, he would be playing here in Australia [at the Australian Open] without a problem,” Nadal said.
“He made his own decisions, and everybody is free to take their own decisions, but then there are some consequences.”
In dramatic events in the last 24 hours, the Serb’s visa was canceled as it did not have the required documentation for his medical exemption. Djokovic has been denied entry into the country.
“Of course I don’t like the situation that is happening,” said Nadal, who is tied at 20 majors with Djokovic.
“In some way I feel sorry for him. But at the same time, he knew the conditions since a lot of months ago, so he makes his own decision.”
The decision to grant Djokovic a medical exemption was met with outrage.
“It’s normal that the people here in Australia get very frustrated with the case, because they have been going through a lot of very hard lockdowns,” the 35-year-old said.
“After a lot of people have been dying for two years my feeling is with the vaccine, [it’s] the only way to stop this pandemic.
“The only for me clear thing is if you are vaccinated, you can play in the Australian Open and everywhere, and the world in my opinion have been suffering enough to not follow the rules.”
Djokovic’s lawyers are challenging the decision made by Australian Border Force. His case has been adjourned until Monday.